$86,000 textbook buy could help with accreditation.


Byline: Paula J. Owen

FITCHBURG - Fitchburg High School Principal Richard D. Masciarelli said spending $86,000 on textbooks sends the New England Association of School and Colleges the message the district is taking its evaluation extremely seriously.

Though it could still be a few weeks before the district gets a final decision on its status from the association, the School Committee voted unanimously Monday night to spend the money out of school choice funds. School choice money comes into the district from the state to pay for out-of-district students attending classes in the Fitchburg system.

"The move shows the district is going to be proactive with addressing concerns in the report," Mr. Masciarelli said.

The committee received a negative report compiled by a committee assigned by the association to evaluate the school. The report includes findings from a four-day visit to the high school in October by 15 evaluators. The NEASC will make a decision on the school's accreditation status based on the findings. Last month, Mr. Masciarelli said he expects the school will be placed on warning status while the district deals with concerns in the report.

The report says textbooks are falling apart and are outdated; technology is inadequate and unreliable; the library and media collection is out of date, and there is insufficient professional development for...

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